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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


 
"In his new memoirs, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton offers an interesting twist on why Iraq went so badly: He argues that Rumsfeld elbowed aside Gen. Richard Myers and the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and also intimidated and flattered Gen. Tommy R. Franks while working directly with him, and so basically went to war without getting the advice of his top military advisors. The war plan that Rumsfeld and Franks went on to cook up, Shelton concludes, was 'a fiasco.' (479) (Hmm -- interesting choice of words.) Shelton also writes that there was no reason to go war against Iraq. 'The fact is that we had Iraq contained and they were not a threat.' (419) Also, 'There was absolutely no link between him [Saddam] and 9/11.' (474) No big revelations, but I was glad to see this stated so flatly by a former high official. His bottom line: 'President Bush and his team got us enmeshed in Iraq based on extraordinarily poor intelligence and a series of lies purporting that we had to protect American from Saddam's evil empire because it posed such a threat to our national security.' (474-475) Just in case you weren't paying attention, he elaborates on that charge later in the book." (ForeignPolicy)


"As Senator Harry Reid stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Bill Clinton in a high school gym in Las Vegas earlier this week, the contrast was impossible to ignore. One man controlled the audience the way a conductor might lead an orchestra, with well-timed pauses to bring the room to a hush, pithy swipes to lift the crowd to a rousing crescendo. This man projected energy and a relish for battle. The other man was Senator Harry Reid. This appearance with the 42nd president was Reid’s first big campaign event of the fall in Nevada, and that’s saying something, considering the most powerful politician to emerge from this state has less than three weeks to save his political life. He’s given a few speeches here and there over the summer, visited with small pockets of constituents at intimate events, raised loads and loads of money and flooded airwaves, websites and email in-boxes with messages defining GOP opponent Sharron Angle as extreme or even crazy. Running against a candidate who has just raised an impressive $14 million this quarter, the Senate majority leader is locked in a too-close-to-call race and must now get out on the stump, his least comfortable place." (TheDailyBeast)


"So, after six weeks of near-unanimous cartwheeling and trumpet blasts from the nation’s book critics (including me), after a touching reconciliation with Oprah, after losing and then recovering his world-famous glasses, Jonathan Franzen has suffered an indignity: He has been left off the short list for the National Book Award, the prize he won nine years ago for The Corrections. What should we make of this surprising refusal to shower acclaim on Freedom, the most acclaimed novel of the millennium? Is it a snub, an injustice, a petty backlash? Or is it a brave act of rebellion against the PR-driven literary-industrial complex that wants us all to bow down to King Franzen? It’s probably none of that. Awards, notoriously, mean almost nothing — particularly in literature, where the architecture of competitive sports is just flat-out silly. Literary prize-choosing is always a fickle, unsatisfying process: It’s often just a way to settle scores, or send political messages, or strategically boost careers." (NyMag)


"Down at Michael’s, the Wednesday lunch was packed. At table one in the window they were having a lunch to celebrate Debra Shriver’s publication of Stealing Magnolias, which is about her love of her adopted city New Orleans. Debra is also a New Yorker and Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of the Hearst Corporation. More on her book in tomorrow’s NYSD. In yesterday’s Shriver lunch party: Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Pamela Keogh, Jesse Kornbluth, Susan Sully, Amy Wicks, Melissa Coan, Marcia Sherrill, Lesley Jane Seymour and last but never least, Debra’s partner in adopting cities, her husband Jerry Shriver. Meanwhile, just as the main course was about to be served the Shriver party, in comes jazz man, saxophonist Craig Handy for a surprise solo performance for the celebrants (and everyone else in the place)." (NYSocialDiary)

"CBS has done something no network has done since 2001, and that’s win the first three weeks of a new season in adults 18-49. But this should hardly come as a surprise to media buyers. In a just-completed Media Life poll, buyers give the new season to CBS, and by a wide margin. Asked to name the network with the most impressive start, 66 percent of readers chose CBS. ABC and NBC tied for a distant second at just 11 percent, while Fox got 7 percent of the vote and the CW 3 percent. Asked to rate the networks individually, 53 percent of Media Life readers gave CBS the top rating, terrific, while 33 percent rated it decent, 9 percent rated it so-so and 4 percent rated it poor. ABC came in as the No. 2 network in the ratings, with 43 percent rating its first weeks decent. Just 9 percent rated it terrific, while 34 percent gave it a so-so and 13 percent gave it a poor. As for Fox, 9 percent gave it a terrific, 28 percent gave it a decent, 49 percent gave it a so-so, and 14 percent a poor." (Medialifemagazine)


"That odor you smell is the odor of desperation. Whether it is on the TV show 'Mad Men' in the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, which has lost a majority of its billings and must sign up new businesses to survive, or from politicians and campaigns who find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion as Election Day approaches, desperation yields unfortunate results. Campaigns, candidates and even elected officials who should know better say and do bad things. In Pennsylvania’s 13th district, the campaign of Republican Dee Adcock, who is challenging three-term Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D), recently e-mailed a news release with the subject line 'Poll shows tight race in PA 13.' The memo, which included only a generic ballot, Schwartz’s 're-elect' and an 'informed ballot,' repeatedly conveys the impression that the race between the Congresswoman and Adcock, the president of his family’s 50-year-old swimming pools, accessories and supplies distributorship, is very competitive. I know that when I see a news release in October that states that, 'When voters hear where Adcock and Schwartz stand on the issues Adcock wins,' I have stumbled across a campaign that probably has no chance of winning." (CQPolitics)

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